Focus Point - George W's Environment Record

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis.

Critics blast George W. Bush's environmental record as Texas Governor because Texas ranks first on the EPA's toxic release inventory, and Houston surpassed Los Angeles as the city with the country's "dirtiest" air. Well, both claims are misleading.

Toxic releases dropped 14 percent in Texas from 1995 to 1997, compared to a 1.5 percent national average. Texas reduced the amount of toxic chemicals released into the environment by 42 million pounds.

By law, only some companies must report releases, so a large company that accidentally releases one pound of cyanide must report the release, while a small company that releases 8,000 pounds doesn't.

Also, a "release" can be a shipment of chemicals from one company to another, shipments from a company to a landfill (even if required by law).

As for Houston, Los Angeles still has poorer air quality when violations of Carbon Monoxide and particulate matter standards are taken into consideration.

There's more politics than science in those accusations.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, campaign finance reform.